Children in road traffic – who is liable for damages??Children in the traffic become at the latest then the topic, if the freshly baked school newcomer makes itself each morning proudly with its new satchel on the way into the school. Even small children often ride their bicycles to school. On the one hand, of course, it is the drivers who are called upon to pay increased attention and exercise caution, especially on the way to school and in purely residential areas. On the other hand, of course, the parents. Also stopped the schools " traffic education" to operate.
Despite all caution, however, traffic accidents cannot always be avoided. In the best case, the parties involved are lucky: nothing happens to the child and the driver is left with a shock and a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach as well as a fender bender. Then the question arises, who can be made liable for the damage.
The Civil Code (§ 828 para.1 BGB) stipulates that children who have not yet reached the age of seven, including those starting school, are incapable of guilt. You can not be held responsible for any damage you have caused in any case.
With the new law of damages from 01.08.In 2002, the age limit was raised to the extent that children between the ages of seven and ten are also not liable for damage they cause negligently in road traffic (Section 828 Para.2 BGB). This is based on the legislative assessment that children of this age are not yet able to correctly assess the dangers of road traffic according to their physical development and to react accordingly. They are the weakest road users and have developmental deficits in traffic overview, estimating speeds and distances.
This was also confirmed in a recent Federal Court ruling in which an eight-year-old boy was not held responsible for the damage he caused by letting go of his bicycle, which then rolled onto the road and damaged a passing car. The owner of the car was therefore forced to pay for the damage to his car himself or to claim on his fully comprehensive insurance policy. However, for children between seven. Ten years of exceptions to the liability privilege. On the one hand, they must be liable if they have caused damage intentionally. So if a child of this age throws a stone against a parked or moving car, he or she can be held fully liable for the damage.
On the other hand, the liability privilege of these children is also limited if the damage caused occurs in stationary traffic, as the sources of danger are then so small that they can also be assessed by children.
Parents are liable for their children?
If the children cannot be claimed, the question of the parents' liability is almost always raised. After all, it is always said " Parents are liable for their children!". However, this sentence is only true in exceptional cases. Parents are liable for the damage caused by their children only if they themselves have violated their duty of supervision. How far this duty of supervision goes will, as so often, have to be judged on a case-by-case basis.
The intensity of the necessary supervision depends on the age of the child, its individual development and the sources of danger present in the respective environment. For example, no one will be able to demand that parents supervise their child every step of the way to school every day. On the other hand, a stricter supervision can be expected if the parents know that their child has often damaged other people's cars. These parents will be expected to prevent further such "pranks" of their child.
The motorist who may be involved in an accident is usually liable for the general operating risk of his motor vehicle for the reasons outlined above, even if the child undisputedly caused the accident. The motorist or his fully comprehensive insurance would therefore be left with the damage to his own car.
Damage to third party vehicles is paid for by motor vehicle liability insurance. In addition, the no-claims bonus is lost.